The Central Africa Republic's shaky interim authorities on Saturday ordered all forces except foreign peacekeepers and the presidential guard off the streets of Bangui, where gunfire has eased but attacks on civilians have continued.
A senior U.N. aid official said French and African peacekeepers must push into neighborhoods where "senseless" Muslim-Christian killings are rife, not just control the main roads of the capital.
Clashes resumed in Bossangoa, about 300 km (190 miles) north of Bangui, a day after an African peacekeeper was killed there, a witness there said.
The order for gunmen to return to barracks in Bangui, read on national radio, came as France dispatched 1,200 troops to the country, where at least 300 people have died in two days of violence in which rival militias clashed and then wholescale killings between Muslims and Christians began.
A reinforced French force stepped up patrols of the dilapidated, riverside capital and warplanes flew low overhead. But residents and rights groups said that killings had taken place on Friday down alleys away from the major arteries.
"Peacekeepers are patrolling the main roads. This is helping keep the looting down. But the atrocities are inside the neighborhoods," said Amy Martin, head of the U.N. Officer for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA.
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